Monthly archives of “May 2009

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Body of Lies, Ridley Scott (2008)

Right, see, pair this with Traitor, reviewed below, and ask the class to write a paper on how representations of terrorism differ in the two films. Hint: Here, ostensible political messages are the all-natural soy frosting on a big ol’ bacon-and-chocolate cake of technology fetishism, explosions, and Leo with his shirt off ready to kiss the beauty or slay the swarthy at the drop of a keffiyeh. Let me be clear. I am not being sanctimonious. I enjoyed this very much. I just want to point out that its earnest little gestures at cultural criticism are pathetic. Stick to the cool shots of the helicopters zipping through the mountain passes, Ridley.

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The Limits of Control, Jim Jarmusch (2009)

Wow, this is absolute garbage! However, I loved every minute of it, because I saw it at the Angelika the week it opened, on a rainy Saturday morning, while I ate my salt bagel with chive cream cheese. I was looking for a nostalgia trip, a sense of those college days when I’d come into the city with friends to see films (not movies! films!) like Dark Habits, or Hail Mary, or, yes, Stranger than Paradise. Good old JJ came through too perfectly; this movie is so incredibly self-consciously downtown it reads as a parody. But nineteen year old me would have adored it, and so, out of a kind of affectionate pity for that vanished friend, I adored it too.